(WBIR-Maryville) Studio 212 in Maryville is a place for students to take classes and for artists to work.
Professional potter Leanne Moe-McQueen owns it. What it comes down to is she loves clay.
"I know you're not supposed to have a love for a material but I happen to have a love for the material. That's one of my favorite things. And creating for the family table. Creating for this whole idea of tradition and what it comes down to and I think it is the easiest way to bring art in to your everyday life," Leanne Moe-McQueen said.
She's been creating functional pottery for almost a decade. Now she's working in a prestigious commission.
"I'm doing some plate ware for Blackberry Farm right now," she said.
Yes, that Blackberry Farm, the upscale restaurant in the Smoky Mountains known for its carefully crafted cuisine. The baker, butcher, gardener, cheese maker, chef and more work together for a dining experience recognized by Bon Appetit and Conde Nast Traveler.
"They actually contacted me to use somebody local to start working with them to design a line of dish ware for their barn is what they are using it in," she said.
Pottery takes time to create. She doesn't run an assembly line operation.
"So far I've sent about 55 place setting up there, between dinner plates and bowls up to them. And we're just working on building and adding to the set," she said.
Eventually Blackberry Farm will use 120 sets of Leanne's handmade dinnerware.
"I'm slowly working with their chef, Cassidy, just to slowly work in new pieces, trying things out, seeing what works and seeing what doesn't work on their table," she said.
She says it's helped her grow as an artist by looking at her art from a different perspective.
"It's kind of fun to work with these chefs up on this level and look at it as this is their canvas. How are they plating their food? How is it my job to complement it to make it look better," she said.
She's not sure what awaits her in her artistic career. The potter just knows it will involve clay.